NESD bringing in speaker to talk on impacts of social media

Submitted photo. Madison Cameron is visiting North East School Division to talk about social media and the impacts it has on youth.

Nicole Goldsworthy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

The North East School Division is bringing in a special guest speaker to speak on social media and the impacts it has on youth and how parents can strengthen their connections with their children.

Madison Cameron is a 27-year-old who was born and raised in Lethbridge, Alta. and is finishing a degree at the University of Phoenix in physiology with a concentration in social media and technology. Cameron is also the assistant men’s basketball coach at the University of Lethbridge and is the youth specialist at CTIP (Center for Trauma Informed Practices) which is located in Lethbridge and in Chicago.

Cameron was an educational assistant and was inspired by working with children and supporting students through helping them though challenges that started from social media and translated into their real world.

She will be attending every school within the NESD to give presentations to students on social media. These sessions will focus on exploring the impact of social media on youth uncovering the apps and online space that students and parents may not be aware of. Cameron stressed the need for connection as a means to strengthen relationships with students and as parents and caregivers.

Cameron’s message is not that social media and apps are bad, rather its more of how to inspire and empower adults and community to understand children and that it just looks different for youth and this generation. Cameron said that youth find social media positive and negative and that children have different experiences. She has conducted surveys that have been sent out to schools for students to better understand the relationship that students have with social media.

She highlighted that a key message to remember is to remind parents, caregivers and communities that we do understand youth, it just may look different from our perspective, but we all need to understand what these kids are going through or the worlds they are living. She also stressed being aware of apps, secret apps and websites that kids are using that parent, caregivers that they may not be aware of and ensuring that they build connections and a better understanding for adults.

Randy Kerr, co-ordinator of integrated school services for the NESD, said Cameron will also be spending a day at James Smith Cree Nation with date and time yet to be determined. As part of the Kinawind partnership, parents and community members of Kinisitin Saulteux Nation have been invited to the Tisdale community presentation.

Kerr said that within the North East School Division’s 2023-26 strategic plan two priorities are to enhance the well-being of students and staff, as well as to educate families on how to support the well-being of students in the classroom and at home. A significant stressor impacting the well-being of youth over the past 15 years has been social media. The NESD is very fortunate to have secured the services of Madison Cameron to educate and empower students, staff and parents about this very topic. Her extensive research and expertise in the field combined with her authentic and genuine demeanour allows her message to be well received by all parties.

Parents and caregivers who plan to attend these workshops can expect that they will receive information on how to support and advocate for your child and how to connect with their child. Cameron will share kid’s perspectives on what social media has been to them, and how it affects them mentally, emotionally and behaviourally. As well as bringing some insight on giving kids platforms when you give kids the opportunity to share their stories and experiences through social media as well as her own. She will also share how technology influences kids.

These sessions for parents/caregivers are being held at the following dates/times and locations:

Dec. 12 – Hudson Bay at 7 p.m.
Dec. 13 – Porcupine Plain at 7 p.m.
Dec. 14 – Tisdale at Tisdale Elementary at 7 p.m. (Bjorkdale school parents invited to attend this session)
Jan. 9 – Nipawin at 7 p.m. at LP Miller (CPES, Wagner and White Fox parents invited to attend this session)
Jan. 10 – Choiceland at 7 p.m. (White Fox parents invited to attend this session)
Jan. 11 – Carrot River at 7 p.m. (Arborfield parents invited to attend this session.

Star City, Melfort and Naicam have already held sessions.